“A cigarette burns at 400 C. Napalm burns at 3,000 C."
Distances is an exhibition featuring works by Andrew Norman Wilson, Harry Sanderson, Susan Schuppli and Tom Tlalim, curated by Cory Scozzari. The exhibition seeks to reveal and challenge layers of disproportionality and invisibility that are made more complex through the use of technology; more specifically, the use of drones and overhead surveillance, imagery in military contexts, and hidden labor within a fragmented technological production. Ironically, the more we come to use our devices to seemingly circumvent human interaction, the more bodies, hands, physical labor, and real material each of our actions must pass over, through, out of and into. We, as users of electronics, and citizens of nations whose governments commit violent crimes through the use of technology, are as much implicated in the techno-power structures of global capital and warfare, as a worker in the production chain, or a civilian living in an occupied war zone.
Yet our respective daily realities are markedly different based on location and economic standing. This distancing then, this disconnection, is at least in part secured by a series of governmental and corporate practices that prevent information, images and people from being seen, heard, or circulated. It is this obfuscation that many of the works in the exhibition seek to unveil or amplify. Works include Andrew Norman Wilson’s Rainbow Girl no. 1, a photograph and pixel matched painted frame, from the Series Scan Ops, which depicts the finger of a Google book Scanner (a largely overlooked and marginalized human element of Google’s seemingly altruistic technocratic gesture of digitizing libraries) and a video projection which charts the ghostly disappearance of the workers and repurposing of the building previously used as the factory for Google book scanning located on the Googleplex campus in Silicon Valley. Harry Sanderson’s CNC milled acrylic works are suspended objects with embedded images within them, made through an intensive algorithmic process whereby code is written into contours of cast acrylic. The result is an image cast within the object that is imperceptible through plain sight and can only be revealed when lit, the spectral caustic light throws the image upon another surface, making it legible only through its affect. Susan Schuppli and Tom Tlalim’s work Uneasy Listening is an audio work made through the aid of generative computer software which mimics the sound of drones as they circle above regions under attack. These works, and thus the exhibition itself, make perceptible that which would otherwise be concealed. The crux and paradox lies in the impossibility of an ontological understanding of experience between these disparate realities (representation and what the actually represent) and the pitfalls of representing them through the use of art, all the while plagued with the urgent desperation to address, critique and effect these problems.
curated by Cory Scozzari